Man who lost Stand Your Ground defense pleads guilty to reduced charge of manslaughter

April 10, 2013

A Jacksonville man who narrowly lost a "razor-close" decision that would have allowed him to walk free from murder charges has pleaded guilty to a Jackosnville reduced charge of manslaughter. Quintavious Seay pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter once the state agreed to drop the second-degree murder charge and cap the maximum prison sentence Seay will receive, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The Florida manslaughter charge has a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but the plea agreement calls for the sentence to range from 5 to 15 years, the newspaper reported.

Seay will be sentenced next month. The judge is not legally bound by the agreement but, in a majority of cases, once the judge accepts the plea, he or she generally issues a sentence within the agreed-upon range. Seay shot at three men who jumped him and friend for retaliation from an earlier fight, the newspaper reported. The three men attacked Seay and his friend, kicking his friend until he was almost unconscious in the street, the newspaper reported. When the men turned their attention back to Seay, he pulled out a gun and fired, killing one of the men. Witnesses said the fight was already over when Seay started shooting, which was likely the determining factor in Seay losing his Stand Your Ground defense. The Stand Your Ground law in Florida allows a person to use deadly force instead of retreating if the person fears for his or her life. The judge said in court he ruled against Seay in a "razor-close" decision and, when Seay's Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys appealed the ruling, an appellate court agreed with the local judge, the newspaper reported.

The plea in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes case allows Seay to limit the potential damage in his sentence and, eventually, move on with his life. If he was found guilty at trial of second degree murder, he faced up to life in prison. Seay, 20, will now likely be out of prison before or shortly after his 30th birthday. Seay was 16 at the time of the shooting and has been in the Duval County jail since December 2009. Any sentence the judge imposes on the manslaughter charge will include credit for the more than three years Seay has already served. So a 5-year sentence would really be less than two years and a 15-year-sentence would be less than 12 years.

In many cases, like this Duval County Gun Crimes Case, the role of a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney is to get the best possible outcome for his or her client. Sometimes that means pushing a case to trial. In other cases, it means continuing to push for a reduced charge and taking a sure thing instead of risking a damaging result at trial.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.